Software Pioneer John McAfee To Be Deported To U.S.

Dec 12, 2012
Originally published on December 12, 2012 5:29 pm
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Software pioneer John McAfee has been deported from Guatemala and is heading back to the United States. McAfee has been on the run from authorities in neighboring Belize for the past several weeks. Police there want to question him about the murder of a neighbor. But McAfee says he fears for his life at the hands of Belize authorities.

NPR's Carrie Kahn has been following McAfee's odyssey through Central America and joins us now from Mexico City. And first off, Carrie, how and why was McAfee in Guatemala, and why is he being deported to the U.S.?

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Well, like you said, Audie, it's quite an odyssey. McAfee was living in neighboring Belize. He lived on an island. He'd been there for the last several years until last month when his neighbor - also an American expat - turned up dead. Now, McAfee and this neighbor had had their differences over things like McAfee's dogs who have been described as aggressive and also about what people call his eccentric lifestyle. He was an avid partier. There were lots of women coming in and out of the house, many say they were prostitutes from the mainland.

Once his neighbor was found murdered, Belize police said that they wanted to speak to McAfee. And they made it clear he's not a suspect in the case, but he's a person of interest. After several weeks of what McAfee himself called that he was hiding in plain sight from Belize authorities, he slipped over the border to Guatemala and he asks for asylum. That was last week.

About the day after living at a luxury hotel in Guatemala and doing what he loves to do - speak to the press - Guatemalan officials arrested him for entering the country illegally. And they said they wanted to deport him back to Belize. He hired a high-profile attorney, and he managed to get himself deported back to his country of origin instead of the U.S.

CORNISH: And as we mentioned this neighbor, the neighbor was named Gregory Faull. In this case, what's going to happen to McAfee now? Is Belize still going to try to get him to submit to questioning?

KAHN: They say they do. The Associated Press is quoting a Belize spokesperson, saying that they want to speak to him. Still, he's still a person of interest, not a suspect, and they want to talk to him. They said they will work with the friendly government of the United States to try and get him to come back in for questioning.

On his part, McAfee says he's not going back to Belize. He fears for his life. He says that police there have wanted to kill him, hurt him, harm him because he failed to pay some bribes and also to contribute to politicians' political campaigns. And he says he wants to live out the rest of his life in retirement in the United States with his 20-year-old Belizean girlfriend.

CORNISH: And, Carrie, you mentioned a little bit about his personal life. But what has McAfee been doing in Belize these years?

KAHN: He's been retiring there. He's taken up a lot of different, maybe you could call them hobbies. He has lived quite an eccentric life. He - as I told you before - lots of women around, lots of parties. For a while he tried to build this lab where he was synthesizing antibiotics from Belizean jungle plants. Police raided that mainland lab and they accused him of cooking meth. And he - but he was never charged in the case.

CORNISH: From Mexico City, NPR's Carrie Kahn. Carrie, thank you.

KAHN: You're welcome, Audie.



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